All regional offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) have been ordered to turn over all available grains dryers and hauling trucks to the agency the National Food Authority (NFA), according to the Facebook page of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol. This is in response to the appeal of rice farmers for help in bringing their harvest to the NFA buying stations.
Moreover, he noted that there are several DA Regional Offices have already turned over trucks and dryers to NFA in compliance with this order.
“If this is not enough, I am authorising the NFA Regional Offices to use whatever funds are available to lease hauling trucks to haul farmers’ produce from the farm to the NFA buying stations”, Piñol said.
Significantly, ” DA received P5-B late year on orders of President Rody Duterte to support the National Rice Program and this money will be used in buying grains dryers which will be established in all NFA buying stations”.
Piñol emphasizes on his post that more funds will be allocated for post-harvest facilities, especially dryers, when the P10-B Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) is released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Implications of NFA
More significantly, NFA was returned to the DA only in October last year and while we are doing everything we could to institute improvements, there is just not enough time to implement these.
In the short time that the NFA was returned back to its Mother Unit, however, the NFA Council has increased the palay buying price from P17 “clean and dry” to P17 plus P3.70 in incentives, for a total of P20.70.
The NFA is also offering a loan program where farmers could avail of loans from the NFA through the DA Agricultural Credit Police Council (ACPC) amounting to P25,000 per hectare and a maximum of P50,000 per farmer without collateral at 3% interest per planting season.
Further, DA Secretary, as Chairman of the NFA, also made sure that the NFA will continue buying farmers’ produce and sell rice at P27 in spite of its new role which relegates it to a buffer stocking agency.
President Duterte also ordered the DA recently to implement a National Fertilizer Support Program which would provide rice and corn farmers with sufficient fertilizer to increase their production.
I would like to assure our farmers that we are listening to all of your concerns and we will respond.